Mission Possible: Designing a great agency website
I work for a great marketing agency called Catalyst in Rochester, NY. Check out this blog post I wrote for them about the process behind redesigning their website along with an awesome team. See the new website here
The highest priority of an agency website should be to present the agency so that a prospective client quickly and easily knows what it is, what it does, and what makes it unique. The website must not only reflect the agency’s brand, its personality, and what it offers … it has to grab the prospect in around 90 seconds.
For a multidisciplinary agency like Catalyst, creating an effective website could have become Mission: Impossible. Luckily for us, when it came time to redesign our own website, we had the perfect team right under our own roof.
A team with a “particular set of skills”
Putting together the right team to redesign our website was a bit like assembling a team of highly trained operatives to take on a dangerous super secret mission. To ensure a successful mission, it was not enough to gather individuals who were masters of their unique craft. Those individuals also had to be able to communicate and combine their skills into one smoothly running, efficient killing machine … I mean website team.
Here’s the rundown of the skills our website makeover required: marketing and new business development, project management, analytics, UX design, copywriting, visual design, and Web development. That’s a LOT of skills! So, let’s break it down and talk about the role each of our operatives played in our top secret mission.
Before the mission could begin, it had to be assigned. I like to think of our New Biz Team, Robyn and Mike, as “Charlie” from Charlie’s Angels: That mysterious voice that crackles over the speakers and utters the call to action, “Good Morning, Angels.” You know a new mission is underway. The new biz team laid out the details of the assignment: its parameters, goals, objectives, time frame, and budget.
The behind-the-scenes hero of any spy movie and, also our Web team, was the Project Manager. Our Handler, or Project Manager, Cindy, was the Bosley to our Charlie’s Angels. She brought the team together, made sure everyone was working efficiently, had what they needed, and kept the lines of communication open. Keeping everyone upbeat, positive, and focused was a real plus.
The Reconnaissance Expert
Our UX Designer, Nancy, gathered all the necessary information and laid the groundwork for the mission. She developed wireframes, navigation, did UX testing, and used her years of UX experience to communicate to the team the factors that would make our site not only visually appealing but easy to use and full of smart content. And she didn’t even need night vision goggles.
Any spy worth his or her salt knows that every good mission MUST start with surveillance. The Surveyor knows everything about the mission’s intended target, just like our analytics expert, Kathy. Kathy was on a constant lookout for event tags, page tags, and other key factors that would be measurable in Google Analytics and make Google play right into our hand. She helped us set website goals and determine how to measure what mattered, based on input from the Reconn Expert.
The Double Agent
Of course, every mission also needs a Double Agent. Someone working on the inside who makes sure we can talk the talk and walk the walk. For us, this mantle is worn by our executive creative director and award-winning copywriter, Ken. He is the silver-tongued master of disguise that can turn any marketing-speak into friendly conversational copy. His carefully crafted sentences made our brand personality accessible, welcoming and on strategy.
The Strategist is the mission planner. She puts all the information together and lays out every intricate step of the mission. She knows exactly how everything is supposed to look at any point on the site. She knows every floor plan, safe combination, security camera location, and guard dog that could be lurking around the corner. That’s me: the Visual Designer, Jessi. It was my job to give the team a mission objective. I created the look and feel of the site from start to finish.
The last operative on our top secret team was The Muscle. Or in our case, it was our Web Developer, Loren. It was his job to put the plan into action. Following the plan to a tee, he used his weapon of choice (code) to execute the mission flawlessly. Testing the whole way through, he ensured that our site would work on mobile devices as well as laptops and tablets, that nothing would go wrong, and that the mission would be a success.
So, other than my desire to watch spy movies, I hope my thrilling tale of website redesign has revealed what an undertaking it really is and the range of talent needed to pull it off. Each member of the team performed a unique and pivotal role in making our mission a success.
But it isn’t enough for each team member to master his or her separate task. What makes or breaks a team is what lies in the crossfire. It’s the overlap of roles and constant communication that made the Catalyst website redesign a box office smash! Together, our team created a website that was both beautiful and functional, technologically advanced and easy to use, and one that revolutionized our previous website without losing the already-established brand personality.
So, on that note … this blog post will now self-destruct in 3, 2, 1 …